PANORAMA LATINX is an initiative of the Gene Siskel Film Center dedicated to year-round Latin American film programming. We engage the dynamic Latinx community of greater Chicago through showcasing the work of emerging and established Latinx filmmakers, educational screenings, and community partnerships.
Happy New Year Tijuana
Feliz Año Tijuana
2018, Andrew van Baal, Mexico/USA, 73 min.
The reckless air of a border town gives extra flavor to a Mexican New Year’s Eve when the night urges Latin American Studies professor Alejandro (Deveze) into the waiting arms of temptation. A missed flight to his home in León strands the cautious middle-aged professor in Tijuana, where the town’s seedy air suggests danger, but the energy in the streets issues an irresistible invitation. After an unexpected encounter with pretty blonde former student Ana (Veta), an American, he joins a party of reveling academics. It’s the first course in an evening laced with comic undertones that will evolve into a tangled odyssey of new sights, new emotions, and a dangerous attraction. Director van Baal (LARGO) makes superb use of Tijuana’s colorful panorama of street action as Alejandro mixes with the vendors, mystery characters, sex workers, and would-be friends who will challenge his status quo. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
2018, Jenny Murray, Nicaragua/USA, 97 min.
"Provocative…full-bore charisma and intelligence." - Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter
Heroines of Nicaragua's 1979 Sandinista Revolution get their due in this documentary that underlines for posterity the leading role of women in the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) through present-day encounters with the female leaders who made it happen. First-person accounts by key women, including former commander Dora Maria Téllez, reveal how thousands of sheltered country girls and home-bound wives and mothers answered the call of the nation's struggle for social and economic justice to become warriors who shattered gender barriers and matched or bested the men in combat against the troops of the totalitarian Somosa regime in the U.S.-backed Contra War. Compelling historical interviews and combat footage serve to create then-and-now portraits of the film's featured interview subjects, who ushered in a new era of equality, only to see their place in history gradually diminished and erased under the administration of Nicaragua's current president Daniel Ortega. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
2017, Alison McAlpine, Chile/Canada, 78 min.
"A rapturous act of cinematic contemplation…should entrance all those who enter its unique atmosphere." - Nick Schrager, Variety
"A heady brew of science and poetry…describes the feeling of looking upward at a boundless firmament." - Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
Director McAlpine reaches for the stars, literally, in this exquisitely poetic documentary shot in Chile's Atacama Desert, where the night sky, far from urban light-pollution, offers an expansive and undiluted view of the stars and planets like few places on earth. Science, sheer wonder, and folk tale mix in this appreciation that ranges from interviews with astronomers posted at two local observatories to encounters with desert-living squatters and gleaners, and the assorted characters drawn to this mythic place-the UFO photographer, the man who sees ghosts, and the seekers of the roots of ancient legends that seemingly filter down from the heavens. The night sky is the star of the show, with time lapse photography providing an astonishing, ever-evolving impression of the stars, planets, and earth in constant motion. In Spanish, English, and French with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)